How Runner's Feet Should Hit the Ground

Hey Runners—This One's For You!

Do you practice striking on your midfoot/forefoot or your heels? There have been experiments that show that runners who run on their forefeet are finishing races faster. These runners are also lowering their injury rates. When looking at runners who strike heel first, there was a significant amount of runners who declared they had shin splints, arch pain, ankle pain, and repeatedly pulled muscles.

One important concept to understand with forefoot or midfoot striking is that we convert the vertical force of striking the ground into rotational force by lowering the heel to the ground. This occurs by putting the entire foot facing downward first, then doing the same to the subtalar joint just before the heel lifts off the ground to begin its forward momentum. We need the proper motion, that is occurring through the entire process of forefoot strike to heel contact, to absorb the shock. If you are having a problem adjusting to the correct running form, then orthotics might be a good solution for you.